Retreat?

As I write the yard is full of water puddles. Had us a good rain about an hour ago and it looks like its possible that more is on the way this evening which is gladly received. I didn’t want to cut meadow hay today with the rain in the forecast so I figured I could chop thistles in a big open pasture with the gyro-mower. Now, there’s an old farmer’s tale that says that if you cut thistles and then they get rained on that same day, they die. Well, we will certainly find out after today’s events if that is true! Personally I hope it is!

When I was cutting thistles today, it ain’t the most intense job in the world by any means as far as a person’s thought processing goes, I was reflecting on a word, a common word today in the American church. Now this might alienate a few folks from me, but that has never stopped me before and it won’t stop me now. The word is “retreat”. For some reason that word used in church dealings has always bothered me. I’d rather have a word like advance, then retreat. As I said, its a common word and nowadays its almost given reverence in the church. Bothering me as it has for a long time I hashed it over today as the tractor purred along cutting them dirty thistles down. Last evening for some reason after reading the daily bible readings I opened that old book, The Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, that rough and tumble circuit rider from a couple hundred years ago in the great Mississippi Valley of this land. He stated for the Methodist Circuit Riders, “retreat” was never considered!

As I dwelled on things I see the differences in “religion” from a couple hundred years ago and nowadays. Now retreat is a word that gives comfort to many Christians, except me of course, because I’d, to put it plainly, go stark raving nuts retreating. The differences in thoughts from then till now show a different way of life today, a different faith, and I’m not sure if what we have is better than what they had. In fact I cannot find anything mentioned in the Bible about retreats in the book of Acts. When I read books about the Chinese church I have never found anything ever mentioned either. It doesn’t seem to exist in what could be called “pure” Christianity. What does seem to exist in what I call Christianity is a never ending drive to spread the Gospel at all costs! To face persecution gladly, to face hardships for the Lamb that was Slain for us!

The modern American religion has me perplexed! I was happy with it all till I started reading the Bible seriously. To take in the Word until I couldn’t contain it any more. I started to see there was formed a religion that would please the follower and it would incorporate much of the world’s views on almost everything.  There has been a religion formed that seems to want to please man’s comforts more than to give up those comforts and do what we are supposed to do. It seems to have been incorporated in so that now in order to be a good Christian you must take vacations. Now there ain’t nothing wrong with vacations, especially when the vacation is spent serving the Lord, and I ain’t blanket knocking vacations here. BUT, more than once I’ve been approached by modern, well meaning Christians, that plainly stated to me there was something wrong with our family being we aren’t taking vacations all the time. Like there is something wrong with us, we aren’t acting like all the other people of God nowadays.  Get where I’m coming from with this?

In churches there’s retreat after retreat advertised, all of course for a pretty penny, so a person can find themselves. So a person can feel better about themselves. I ask myself, why aren’t “attacks” advertised? By that I mean, going out and spreading the Gospel! Egad, what an insane idea, what a heretic for even mentioning something like that! I’d rather spend some off time on the offensive because that’s when a person comes alive! In the Book of Acts the believers didn’t pray for peace, they didn’t pray that they’d be left alone or overlooked by society, they didn’t pray for safe vacations or a beautiful retreat, they prayed for POWER! For power to do what God has called every one of us to do! It is so simple! So simple, but so radical in this day and age.

Recently I was on the preach, and preached a thing to a small group about David and Goliath, and Lord did I feel the Holy Ghost on that one! Did he retreat? I wish I had time to go on the preach with that one tonight but it would be difficult to fit it in. Today chopping thistles I was thinking in more modern military term, even though what I was thinking about was almost seventy years old. Thinking about spiritual warfare, I got to thinking about General Patton.I had three uncles, I do believe, that served under him in WWII. The man and his army never retreated, they plowed ahead and no enemy could withstand them. Back at headquarters he drove them absolutely insane. They wanted to play war at headquarters, giving selected people glory, and Patton was a wildcard that couldn’t be brought under submission to the political way of doing things. I remember the movie, (I was a heathen years ago when I watched it), and the scene of the stubborn donkey on the bridge in Sicily came to mind.How the whole army was at a standstill because of a balking donkey on the bridge. This reminded me of the modern day church, not knowing what to do, might have to call a few meetings to decide how this problem should be handled and then go through a ton of paperwork and because of all this strain take a retreat because we are so stressed out and tired. Old Patton made his way to the front of the column, seen the situation, said many words that I wouldn’t dare put on this blog. Personally pulled out his own pearl handled revolver and shot the donkey between the eyes and had it thrown over the bridge and got the army moving on the attack again.

Not many folks these days have seen a Roman soldier as mentioned in the Bible when it comes to spiritual warfare. Paul wrote about those soldiers because the people at the time understood what he was talking about and I see nothing wrong with using more modern warfare scenarios to get a case across. But when Paul talked about putting on the whole armor of God using the Roman soldier terms there is one thing a person should notice with the whole thing. There is nothing covering the person’s backside. Why, because he is advancing forward into the fight! Not running away from it! Retreat is not an option for a Christian!

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Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 7:29 pm  Comments (10)  
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  1. Good Morning Tom,

    Whew!! I’ve about had it lately…. I just got back from the college my son is going to. We got him all registered for classes and all. Now we are packing him up and moving him out. We took a load yesterday, probably another load today and tomorrow.

    We’re also closin on our new house and getting ready for a wedding…. Gak!! I’ve been not knowin which end is up lately. Sorry about not getting in here and talking with you old friend….

    I’ve got to get out today and see the cows and let them know I still own em… Hopefully they are still there. I was going to do some work on this raggely ol place this Friday, but a neighbor lady needs some bush hogging done, so I guess I’ll help her out . Ahh well…. I think in another month everything will start to calm down… I sure hope so, I’ve run pretty ragged these last three months or so.

    I see I’ve got some catching up to do with this ol blog. I sure do enjoy it, so I guess I’ll be in here early tomorrow trying to glean some words of wisdom… It usually ain’t hard 🙂

    Alright, time to get to work. I sure do miss these morning conversations…

    Have a GREAT day,

    Brad

  2. Morning Brad!

    I got me some catching up here to do too! Kinda going in circles lately around here, but the good news is we got us a good rain again yesterday and I don’t think this land could get any greener! I wonder how is went for Jim V down in southern MN?? Sure hope they’ve been getting some rains with this!

    Well, maybe I can return to cutting hay today after more than a week off because of the weather. But at least there’s hay to cut!!

    It sure does sound like your running in circles down there 🙂 I know the feeling, and wish you well! Tonight is church so that’ll keep me busy this evening, although its a special night at children’s church, we’re getting a Dairy Queen cake shipped in and I’m licking my chops already. Give those loyal kids a mid-summer treat I figure 🙂 And a treat for me too 🙂

    God Bless!

  3. Ah, preach it Bro. Tom! I agree that ‘retreat’ is only for time spent in prayer – I’m for an ‘attack’ vacation!

    May the Lord bless you.

  4. Amen! Preach it, brother! Been tempted by the ‘ol devil to retreat lately…tossed between this present crisis of faith…is the Bible as true (all of it, including child-like faith, answered prayers, miracles, specific directions from God, etc.) & as true today as it was in the book of Acts, or, as most of the Christians (especially here in super-comfortable, super affluent southern CA) I’m surrounded by, are we just to accept that this is “as good as it gets,” that stuff from the Bible ceased after the book of Acts & that we are to use human reason for our decisions, etc., as God doesn’t have specific plans or give us a specific will/directions today…!?!?!?!

    The temptation to be sucked into that void of thinking & retreat into “just-getting-by” type of religious Christianity is overwhelming to me right now, especially as I’m in a tight spot w/desire to move, employment (hours cut) & other issues & have no specific instructions (other than to just wait on the LORD, keep praying w/expectation & praise Him w/faith for the answer) from God yet…and am surrounded by other voices “screaming” for me to “get real” & to give up…

    Your admonishment to NOT RETREAT is perfect right now! Thank you, brother & thanks to all here who would lift me up in prayer or speak a word in season…!

    Nina Ruth 🙂

  5. Glad you’re getting rain Tom, we haven’t had a real rain in almost 1 1/2 months. Fields are looking burned, corn getting that pineapple look, a good shot of rain would save our bean crop. Funny what you say about vacations, when I take vacation time from work folks ask where I went, the answer is always the same “field work” or “haying”, they look at me like I’m nuts! Anyway, glad to see you’re still at it Tom, here we’re just buckled down to survive the storm that seems to be sweeping thru this country.

  6. Hi Lee Ann!

    Yup, Jesus would get away from the crowds to commune with the Father, not to go for some “discover yourself” program. Discovering God is what’s important and then let Him do His work in us!
    Thanks and Blessings!

    Hi Nina Ruth!

    The devil wants us to retreat, cause like I said in the post, then our unguarded backside is exposed! Retreat is not an option, nor is compromise. We can never compromise in our faith journey, never compromise with evil or the world because there is no such thing, evil wants to destroy us, nothing less. So compromise and retreat will always let evil win. Just look at the “feel good” churches, they compromise with evil all the time, they don’t preach the Blood, they don’t preach the Cross, they don’t preach the fallen state of man and that Jesus is the only way. They come up with things to make us “feel good”. And they always lose, always! Glad to hear your plowing ahead and not looking back!

    God Bless!

    Hey Brent!

    Long time sir! You know,I’da never imagined you were in a dry area. I can see your area on our regional radar and I always figured you were having a good year. Shows how much I know eh! Well, as always you folks are in our prayers!

    Years ago when I worked out I had the same thing happen all the time. I could take a vacation day here and there, but almost always for some farm job. Back then there were allot of us young farmers working out and there was some hard times keeping workers in the plant on a nice haymaking day in summer let me tell you. Everyone wanted to go home and get started making hay 🙂

    Nowadays I’m always the most content when I can just work and get things done. To tell you the truth, I’d probably go stark raving mad if I was on a vacation for more than two days. Allot of folks don’t understand farmers like me but the farm gives more peace and happiness than any tourist trap ever could. In fact I know that for many folks it would be hard to even imagine living out here the way we do, the peace and the beauty of the countryside never wears off! Even on those terrible disaster years we had, so many in a row, it was still better being home than trying to find something out there to satisfy. I always say, if you can’t find God at home you ain’t going to find Him somewhere else. Especially a tourist trap!

    I see this all the time, folks missing church to pursue the god of recreation.The flimsy excuse that this brings them closer to God, that’s a lie! I’ll probably write about that some more sometimes.

    Anyway, thanks for finally dropping in,I was wondering, believe me 🙂

    God Bless!

  7. Morning Sir,

    How are you this fine morning??

    I’m recharged after last nights bible study. We were in the book of Ephesians chapter 5. Now If I can’t spell it, you durn sure know I can’t quote it, so I won’t even try. Anyway… we were goin through the rules for living…. Almost made it up to them marriage rules that I thought my new bride to be ought to hear once more, but I wasn’t so lucky 🙂 . Anyway, the preacher was talking about how to carry yourself through life as a Christian and be an example for others. It was kind of right up my alley, because I’m pretty good at carryin myself. I’m not very good at evangelizin. If I was preachin, the congregation would love me because my whole sermon
    would be somethin like. “You can’t do no wrong, knowin God….. Good night….” 🙂

    Well, the boy is about half moved out. Yesterday, we went and got him a checkin account and an ATM card…. GAK!! I sure am anxious about these worldly things that can get a young man (…and old men for that matter….) in trouble, but if they don’t spread their wings and learn responsibility on their own, they might never do it right…. Its still scary though.. Maybe I’m just gettin Kathy’s part of the empty nest syndrome too 🙂

    Well friend, Today I start cleanin out my farmhouses barnyard. That ol barnyard hasn’t seen animals in 2 years since I had goats that wouldn’t stay in… But that raggely ol fence seems to do a good job of keepin the plows and cornpickers and seed drills from runnin off. I’m startin to move all that to the new place today.

    Its good to hear about you gettin that rain. I keep an eye up your way when ever I see a 4 week forecast and they’ve been sayin it was going to be a little dry. I sure am glad it hasn’t been.

    Its been pretty good here too. The rain sure helps everything stay on cruise control until I can start getting back to the farm full time again (full time is only about 30 hours a week here 🙂 …

    Well friend, I’d better get on and get some work done. I could sure use another cup of coffee. You aren’t still on that anti-coffee kick are you?? I’m tryin to get back to them sawdust breakfast bars too…. The new wife says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to a healthy life….. I told her my ol Minnesota friend was probably as healthy as a horse then…. 🙂

    Have a GREAT day,

    Brad

  8. Morning Brad!

    I was over at church last night too. In children’s church of course, and it went great. Also that Dairy Queen ice cream cake we smuggled in there didn’t hurt matter’s either 🙂 I kinda figure that stuff is health food 🙂 The tribe of kids were really good last evening and I was on the preach last night too. Let er rip as they say and I had a very difficult time even walking when it was all said and done. Sure can take allot out of a guy sometimes. Funny thing was, allot of what we taught last night was from what you were listening to at about the same time 🙂

    I haven’t even a clue what I’ll be doing today, not a clue. But I guess I’ll figure something out once I leave this house. First I’d better finish up my sausages and home made bacon and the hash brown covered fried eggs, (farm fresh), and couple pieces of toast and of course that cup of hot coffee 🙂

    God Bless!

  9. Tom,

    Praise God, we got a little over 2 inches of rain on Tuesday. By Wednesday the grass had already perked up a lot. During the middle of June I used a no-till pasture drill to beef up an existing pasture. Hopefully this new seeding will get going rather than being stuck at about three inches high – where it has been for a couple of weeks.

    Your comments about preaching to the kids made me think about a book I have started reading – “Already Gone” by Ken Ham. They extensively questioned young adults who had left the church. They are finding that they really started leaving the church and doubting Christianity in the elementary, middle school and high school years, rather than in college. It makes for a very interesting read.

    Jim V

  10. Hey Jim!

    Over two inches should do some perking up over in your area for sure! I was watching that the other day on radar and even told the wife I think Jim is getting rain down his way and I sure was praying you were! They’re talking rain late tonight and it looks like it could form in North Dakota, so we’ll see later.

    Another good one about losing the youth was in a sermon by Paul Washer called the Ten Indictments Against the Church, or something like that. And I can see it is true. Its about how in the basically carnal church we have all these kid programs so the parents feel that they’re doing their job raising the kids up as semi Christians. Just like everything else in society today, let someone else do it. After the kids get old enough to be on their own they spend ten or twenty years living like hell and when that starts to get tiring its time to get that ticket to heaven and supposedly be born again and get involved with a church, preferably a fun modern church, get new friends, get a new social status and everything that comes with it. Still live like the world but be accepted into modern Christianity, and a little prosperity preaching to spice er up doesn’t hurt either. And when the happy new adult Christians come to the social event, I mean church, they just dump the kids off in that fun, modern and upbeat children’s church and start the cycle all over again. Everyone is happy, having a foot in the world and in the “church”. But I wonder, wonder how many are in the Kingdom of God?

    I could get going on this too, but will save it for an opportune moment 🙂

    God Bless!


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